Dunedin too small – I don't think so.

Confirmation today of AC/DC coming to both Wellington and Auckland illustrates the money that is involved in these things, and blows a few myths out of the water.

“The top-selling Australian rock band, which has sold more than 200 million albums, will play Westpac Stadium on January 30 and Auckland on February 6.”

Right bang smack in the middle of the Southern Hemisphere concert schedule. But the next paragraph was the most interesting, telling and pertinent to Dunedin and our stunning new stadium.

“Wellington City Council events manager John Dawson said because of AC/DC’s wide appeal the band had the potential to sell more than 35,000 tickets. Based on concerts at the stadium, including The Rolling Stones in 2006, up to 50 per cent of ticket buyers would be from outside the region. A Saturday concert meant many fans would stay the weekend. Overall, it could contribute about $10 million to the capital’s economy.

Mr Dawson said the estimate was based on analysis of the Neil Diamond concert in 2005, which sold 32,000 tickets and injected about $8 million into the city.”

The most important things we can take from this is the fact that they are looking for up to 50% of the tickets coming from outside the region – that’s right 50%. We’ve been told time and time again by some that Dunedin is too small and that people don’t travel to concerts, this shows us that this simply isn’t the case. When we have the likes of these sorts of concerts we are looking for only 15,000 to come from the city of the immediate region. In the light of the All Blacks – France test selling about 20,000 tickets to the locals only, this doesn’t seem insurmountable (even more so when we are told that Rugby is in crisis and that people aren’t going any more).

But as I have stated time and time again in this forum, the appeal of a top act will see people come from all around the country. Also if we time these concerts right, they will be attractive to the tens of thousands of people on holiday in the South – if you are like me and have lived in Wgtn for a decent length of time, you will appreciate what a relative Ghost Town it is in Jan. But then so is Dunedin, so it has to be around the time when tourists are still on the go and the 22,000 students are back in town, well that’s not hard a couple of weeks later in middle Feb.

Then there is the seemingly other insurmountable issues of transport to the city. Not sure if you’ve lived in Wgtn, it’s a shocker of a place to get to, a 3.5hr ferry ride after a 4hr drive from CHCH, an 8hr drive from Auck (pushing it) or flights only. As I would imagine the majority of these people would actually be flying into the city, then as we all know Dunedin is perfectly situated to meet these needs. Further if we are to capture the tourists (yes tourists do go to concerts internal and foreign) then rather than a flight or an 8hr drive from Auk, it’s a leisurely couple of hr drive from Central Otago to here.

Other possibilities, and I know how the nay-sayers don’t like talking about possibilities, how about selling these things as packages. We all know there is a train that goes right past the stadium, and that we have one heck of a world class Taieri Train, how about selling a travel – stay – concert package to train in from Central to Dunedin, likewise from CHCH or even as far as Picton.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have some of that $8-$10 million dollars injected into the economy too!

It’s simply a matter of getting the right acts to come to the south (we know they already relax and holiday in the luxury resorts of Central Otago sometimes), at the right time and these concerts in Wgtn show people will come, and from far a field.

Full Story found at Stuff.co.nz

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24 Comments

Filed under Concerts, Economics, Inspiration

24 responses to “Dunedin too small – I don't think so.

  1. Elizabeth

    I was just thinking about the logistics and costs of bringing international acts of any standing to Dunedin…can’t think why. Must’ve believed the promoters when they said they won’t and why. Hesitate to say I’m gullible…they know their industry. After building the stadium it’s not like we could afford any backhanders. Or sweeteners.

  2. David

    If we we’re to get a similar number of outside visitors to a concert as Wellington, it would take an additional 117 flights from 737 sized planes.

    If they are to travel here and back full, that means 117 jets sitting on the Dunedin airport runway for the weekend.

    If they come down full, and go back empty to shuttle another load, that means they’ll only have a 50% loading, and at normal prices that means a loss to the airline.

    Besides which, there’s just not enough spare planes – they’d be lucky to get one or two.

    700% more passengers go throughWellington. They average just on 14,000 passengers per day – we average under 2000.

    Even if we doubled that for the day before the concert (unlikely to be operationally possible) – even two days before the concert, we still wouldn’t have the capacity to bring in very large numbers of people from outside the region.

  3. David your glasses aren’t even half full, they have been through the dishwasher and they are bone dry, actually more probably there’s a crack in said glass and the contents just leak out everywhere making impossible messes that just won’t be cleaned up without engineering impossibilities – is everything in your world impossible.

    If you had bothered to read the post it said half of the people were to come from outside of Dunedin. This of course does not mean they are all flying in from out of town, there are the 123.8 extra cars that would be on the road (god knows how many tonnes of carbon that would emit into the atmosphere – taking your methods, we’d have to assume that at least 85% of those would be inefficient petrol guzzlers, so we’d better start planting trees now). It would also mean that people would have to be billeted out as there is no way this city would ever be able to accommodate 30,000 people here, I’m guessing that these would have to be billeted as far afield as Middlemarch, as there is no way the grumpy buggers like David would be able to accommodate these people. There would also have to be extra beer brewed, cancelling the holidays of the Speights workers, or indeed over working these poor buggers already brewing the extra 50,000 litres that would be consumed during Orientation. Don’t mention the extra police that would be required, as we never host anything like a 30,000 people event, the wear and tear on the road around town – whoever is going to pay for that. There would also be a negative effect on the tourist numbers in Akaroa at that time of year, and who are we to affect them.

    But I am sure that the extra 15,000 people (somehow we are assuming they all fly into Wgtn) would adversely affect the flights into and out of Wellington each time there is a concert. What bloody right do these people have obstructing the wheels of industry ad government for such frivolous activities such as attending concerts. Then of course there is the cost to the economy of all these people presumably taking leave, how many of these will need the assistance of the police and hospitals from over consumption. It’s all just too frightful to think about. Best we all just stay at home and get sky.

  4. David

    Paul, unlike you, promoters don’t work on blind optimism.

    I’m sure you wouldn’t either, if you had to risk a lump of money equal to the value of your house.

    It’s at that time you start to look at available –
    – airline capacity,
    – motel capacity,
    – one of the lowest disposable incomes in the country,
    – the cost of hiring a $200m stadium when there are much cheaper venues,
    – the cost of hiring temporary stages and lighting, when stages and lighting rigs already exist at the cheaper venues,
    – the cost of temporary matting to protect the grass, etc etc.
    – a city that has a long reputation as being slow to sell tickets.
    – the cost of bringing a band and all the equipment over Cook Strait to the bottom of the South Island.
    – the cost of returning the band and crew to somewhere they can leave NZ.

    I’ve been to a lot of large stadium concerts, Chch, Auckland, Wembly etc. And there’s nothing worse for a concert atmosphere than a 30,000 seat stadium with just 15,000 people in it.

    A smaller filled venue with just a few thousand is always much better.

  5. David

    One more thing – Wellington has 380,000 people.

    The additional catchment within an hours drive is equivalent to the whole Dunedin polulation, to give it a total nearby catchment of half a million.

    Whereas the Dunedins catchment for an extra hour’s drive from the city would stretch to bring in Balclutha (4000), and Milton (<2000) and not a lot more. And hour and a half and you might bring the total, including Dunedin, to a mere 150,000.

    Remembering that our disposable income is one of the lowest in the whole country, and Wellington’s is the highest.

    And will all those wealthy people, the Wellington council decided it could afford $15m for their stadium.

  6. KGB

    You can forget the people from the Waitaki district Paul.
    Most of them will be travelling to Christchurch

  7. Phil

    It would be great if that money could come to Dunedin. Really it would. But realistically… Let’s be fair to Wellington, they have done a great job with their stadium. But it has come as a result of direct financial stimulus from WCC for all major events. And I’m just not sure that DCC pocket’s are quite so deep. Frankly, nor should they be. I suspect also that the expected income is a gross figure, with no accounting for the costs of staging such events. I think the stadium itself costs something in the order of 8 million per year to operate. Not trying to throw water on the idea, just trying to give it some scale. Looking a little further into Wellington, last financial year the stadium had 40 official event days. Sounds pretty good. Almost one every weekend. However, when you remove rugby games and the Phoenix ( who are locally owned ) that leaves just 6 extra events for the entire year. And that includes House and Garden shows, Craft Shows, and the like. The sort of thing that would fit quite nicely into say, the Edgar Centre, or a newly upgraded Dunedin Centre. So while officially “multi purpose”, the Wellington stadium is a football stadium. With not a lot of new events generated from having a new stadium. I suspect that the press release is quite right when it reports that 50% of attendees will come from outside of Wellington City. But when the stadium marketing points out that 1.2 million people live within a 5 hour drive of Wellington, it doesn’t take many of them to make up the other 15,000 needed. I think if we are to set goals for our new stadium, it’s wise not to use a benchmark that has a grossly unfair advantage. We’ll just end up disappointed every time.

  8. To paraphrase you ir I may for a moment

    “unlike you, promoters don’t work”. (harsh but well overdue).

    The last three concerts I have been to (and the next two I am planning to go to) have been either on the back of Australian Promoters or are independent, NZ’s big promoters are the epitome of the big safe fat cat. Of course they don’t take risks and this is why they are average to say the least, they wouldn’t survive in the big wide world, yet they deliver to us droll and tosh time after time and we are meant to take off cloth cap and say than you sir – bollocks!

    You put these up as barriers to concerts/events being held in Dunedin.

    airline capacity,
    Irrelevant, not everyone is going to fly here.
    motel capacity,
    Don’t start being disingenious, we are hosting a 30,000 capacity rugby match in a couple of months time, a new stadium won’t mean these no longer exist.
    one of the lowest disposible incomes in the country,
    Everyone knows that this is skewered by the 22,000 students living in the city, who actually have a high entertainment discretionary spend (higher than the actual lower classes you talk of, but then these lower classes are the very people who would fill an AC/DC concert. We actually have a very high upper middle class proportionately due to the massive numbers of those employed by the Uni.
    the cost of hiring a $200m stadium when there are much cheaper venues,
    And these would be? Come on are you being serious, I doubt if even you believe this line of argument?
    the cost of hiring temporary stages and lighting, when stages and lighting rigs already exist at the cheaper venues,
    These cheaper venues would be? – I can’t recall North Harbour stadium owning the stage and rigs etc for The Who concert, in fact I’m pretty bloody sure these come with the bands – AC/DC’s will be. I don’t remember if the Bowl of Brookly in New Plymouth has a lighting and sound rig big enough to put on the likes of AC/DC, if they own one at all. Could you please NAME said cheaper venues which have the quality rigs of the likes required to put on a 30,000 capacity concert. What you can’t? But I thought you just said “stages and lighting rigs already exist at the cheaper venues”.
    the cost of temporary matting to protect the grass, etc etc.
    Offset by the profit from hosting a sell out concert. It’s done everywhere else.
    a city that has a long reputation as being slow to sell tickets.
    For the crap tribute bands which are so kindly presented to us by our marvellous Promoters. So is Wgtn, but then as they have shown 50% of these come from out of town anyway. Funny the French Test is kinda proving this wrong.
    the cost of bringing a band and all the equipment over Cook Strait to the bottom of the South Island.
    Fly them in Directly from Australia where they most probably came from anyway, or where they are off to next. Funny this isn’t a cost normally associated with excluding ChCh from the concert circuits.
    the cost of returning the band and crew to somewhere they can leave NZ.
    Come on you are taking the piss now, or you are quite possibly an argumentative sod for the sake of having some ‘air-time’ on a blog. Last time I looked there was an International Airport servicing the city. Where do bands go next, more often than not Australia, and we have direct routes with all of the major cities in Australia right on our door step. This argument may have been applicable for the Beatles tour of NZ, not these days.

    “I’ve been to a lot of large stadium concerts, Chch, Auckland, Wembly etc. And there’s nothing worse for a concert atmosphere than a 30,000 seat stadium with just 15,000 people in it.”

    Well get the right acts and don’t sit at the back. Ditto, I’ve been to a lot of concert venues across the globe, and there is nothing worse than the sound being terrible. The sound of The Who at The Hollywood Bowl was forgettable, yet the sound at The Who at North Harbour Stadium was simply sublime – absolutely stunning. Just out of interest which concert at Wembley (arena or stadium) wasn’t completely sold out, ditto for Auk, Wgtn & ChCh and sorry you found the atmosphere down, the only thing that spoils a concert of me is if the sound isn’t up to it. BTW if you are going to say “but it’s indoor”, The Eagles at GM Place (over the Ice Hockey Ice) in Vancouver – indoor stadium, the sound was stunning again.

  9. And you are forgetting the simple maths, around 50% of the concert going numbers come from out of town – it’s bloody irrelevant the 120,000 population of Dunedin. We’ve already proven without a shadow of doubt if the right event is in town we can fill 30,000+ people at Carisbrook – so given the right concert why can’t we fill a 30,000 capacity stadium then.

    Either we can fill stadiums now (rugby) with the population we have, or we can’t, you can’t have it both ways. It defies logic and well to tell the truth – intelligence.

    And no I am not talking about trying to fill the place up with the Pussycat Dolls or yet another bloody Pink Floyd tribute band, not even Westpac Stadium in Wgtn is that dumb.

  10. David

    Paul – the All Blacks are our national team, for one of our main sports. The crowd will be a mix of high and low incomes, old and young.

    You go on about the right acts, but you haven’t actually named any. It doesn’t matter who you name – any band is only ever going to attract a niche. Some people like classic music, some like jazz, some country, some heavy metal, some pop, some rock, some opera, and the list goes on.

    So any band will be a single genre, automatically ruling out two thirds or three quarters of the population. These days concert tickets are really expensive – that rules out many more.

    I can’t think of anyone who would fill a 30,000 stadium in Dunedin – who do you suggest?

  11. David

    Paul – the other venues were the Town Hall and Regent (much smaller venues which often still don’t sell out), because you’re dreaming if you think you are going to get regular 30,000 people concerts in Dunedin.

  12. David

    You’re right Elizabeth. We couldn’t fly back from Melbourne the other day (Paul might have heard of it – it’s quite a large village in Australia), but there were no flights to Dunedin even right at the end of the school holidays. We had to fly all the way up to Auckland, then to Wellington, then to Dunedin. It was going to be Auckland, Chch, Dunedin, but the Chch-Dun flights were cancelled for lack of passengers.

    I believe the Dunedin-Sydney flights were also cancelled for the winter just after we left.

    Is there anything left at all? Maybe one flight per week?

    I’m sure if Paul asks nicely, the world famous supergroups he is going to bring to Dunedin will be happy to wait here another week before they can leave and continue their tour.

    As Paul says, the other option – flying out to somewhere like Auckland or Wellington so they can leave NZ – is just taking the piss, being argumentative for the sake of getting air-time, and this option would only have to be considered in the days of the Beatles (tell that to the people who fly out of Dunedin every day so they can get their international flight from Chch, Wel and Ak).

  13. Peter

    It would seem Phil Sprey now believes some stadium concerts could be a success in Dunedin. Amazing what an apparent engagement of a promoter by the Carisbrook Stadium Trust to find the opening day act will do! It does seem to call into question the basis of his original comments.

  14. “no flights to Dunedin”

    and we’ve been told that this is a temporary season thing, and I’ll repeat when the flights are on again, in the summer – during the summer concert season there will be flights.

    I also understand that AC/DC is bringing it’s own charter flight to NZ because of the sheer volume of of gear they are bringing, you know the stuff we won’t own here – speakers, lighting rigs, stage etc

  15. David

    So it looks ratepayers will now be up for millions to extend the runway for one flight per year.

    I can hear the arguments now.

    Anybody against such a wonderful thing will be labelled anti-progress.

    If Dunedin doesn’t get this one flight per year the city will go backwards and die.

    It is only the old people who are against it (those as old as Elton John and AC/DC).

    Lets face it – the performers who draw the biggest crowds these days are all in their 50s and 60s – just the sort of acts that will be attractive to those rich young students Paul talks about.

  16. Loving the extended runway.

    What will the anti-bumper stickers be.

    “I Like I short”

    “It’s not the size it’s what you do with it”

  17. David

    Paul says “What will the anti-bumper stickers be.”

    “1500m is long enough”

    “Extra length is pointless if you only use it once a year”

    (that’s only about 12 days less than the stadium)

    So what band would you bring that could draw a crowd of 30,000 in Dunedin?

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